Corey Dickerson continued to be a force on Saturday afternoon, belting a pair of homers en route to a 9–5 win over the Yankees. The fourth straight win for the Rays pushed Tampa Bay ahead of Boston for third place in the AL East.
Early in the contest, Dickerson hit a towering backspin homer to left-center, giving Tampa Bay a first inning, one-run lead.
Corey Dickerson opens the scoring in the bottom of the 1st inning with an opposite-field solo home run to left field
Now down by one, Aaron Judge sought to put his own stamp on the game by answering Dickerson’s homer with a 384 foot game tying solo-shot to right. Yet the tie was short lived.
In the bottom of the second, Colby Rasmus hit a base hit to center, and Daniel Robertson worked a free pass. Jesus Sucre — who always seems to come up big in wRISP situations — hit an RBI double up the middle, scoring the Rays left-fielder.
The Rays were far from done, and Evan Longoria continued to pile on the runs in the third, belting a 380 foot solo homer to put the Rays up by two.
Unfortunately starter Matt Andriese never could put together that all important shutdown inning, and the Yankees came from behind to tie the game in the fourth inning. The rally started when Starlin Castro hit a one out base-hit, and Judge followed by lacing a double to left, putting a pair of runners in scoring position. Andriese beautifully sequenced and fanned Ellsbury (swinging), but gave up a first pitch RBI double to Chase Headley which knotted the game at three.
Yet as the baseball gods would have it, the never say die Rays took the lead for good with the mighty Corey Dickerson at the plate.
Robertson doubled to the right-center gap before Jesus Sucre reached on a strike three wild pitch. With two on, Dickerson hit a 2-1 slider off the scoreboard some 442 feet to right, putting the Rays ahead for good.
Corey Dickerson mashes a massive three-run homer to right field for his second home run of the game
It was Corey’s second homer of the game, and 11th of the season. Beleaguered starter Masahiro Tanaka has now allowed five homers in two starts against Tampa Bay, as well as 13 runs. The right-hander was lifted after he allowed two more singles.
Even though Tampa Bay didn’t plate any more runs in the fourth, the Rays rallied for three more in the fifth against Tommy Layne and Giovanny Gallegos.
Up 6–4, after Gary Sanchez homered in the top of the frame, Robertson led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to center off Layne. Then with one out, Dickerson was hit in the back with a first pitch 89 mph fastball, intentionally or otherwise.
I wasn’t expecting it, Dickerson said. Only thing I didn’t like about it was where it was located. If it was on purpose and he hit me, that’s okay, I just took my base and went on about it. (But) toward my head — anywhere else it wouldn’t have mattered at all.
Whatever the case, Kevin Kiermaier followed with an RBI single to left-center, putting the Rays up by three.
Gallegos entered and promptly walked Longoria, loading the bases for Logan Morrison. On the tenth pitch of the at-bat, Morrison hit a two-RBI single to center, making it a five-run contest.
Following the hit, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Manager Joe Girardi were ejected from the ball game, feeling that Morrison should have been called out on strikes earlier in the at-bat. To his credit, Girardi’s animated display of disenfranchisement — mounding dirt on top of home pate — was rather entertaining.
Joe Girardi was ejected tonight, and put on a show afterward. The video: https://t.co/RYOnTkmbz4
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 20, 2017
However, if the raison d’être of his tirade was to fire up his ball club, it failed.
That wasn’t the only ejection; Andriese was tossed for hitting Judge with a 90 mph first-pitch fastball to the ribs to start the sixth inning. The errant pitch was thought to be revenge for Layne’s hit by pitch of Dickerson.
We have a really tight-knit group here, Andriese said. We’re playing with some fire. We’re not the big-name team, but we’ve got to make a name for ourselves somehow, so I feel like we’re kind of doing that right now.
With a proverbial wink and a nudge, Andriese said no, he was “just trying go inside.”
For his part, Girardi noted that if it was an intentional hit by pitch, the Rays right-hander went about things in the right way:
I don’t really understand it. Maybe they thought that we threw at their guy on purpose. … Really, I don’t want runners at first and second. It’s all right. They thought he threw at him on purpose, they hit Judge, did it, in a sense, the right way — it was lower. But, whatever.
From there, former Yankee Chase Whitley entered in relief, and dominated his former team after allowing a double to Ellsbury. Whitley mowed through the next nine hitters over the next three innings. Rays skipper Kevin Cash called upon Jumbo Diaz to work the final frame, and the hefty right-hander struck out a pair while walking one.
All told, Tampa Bay posted 12 hits, with Dickerson, Kiermaier, Longoria and Robertson collecting multi-hit games.
The New What Next
The Rays will attempt to sweep the Yankees and continue their win streak on Sunday with Chris Archer (3-2, 3.70 ERA, 3.16 FIP) on the mound. He’ll be opposed by CC Sabathia (3-2, 4.93 ERA, 4.84 FIP).
Archer relinquished seven runs (six earned) on five hits and six walks over five innings on Monday. He fanned six batters. The right-hander was undone in the first when he allowed three runs on three walks and two hits — including a three-run blast by Lonnie Chisenhall. And though he settled down, Archer still struggled with his control en route to a new season high in walks. He looks to bounce back against Grimmace on Sunday.
Sabathia fired 6-2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday night, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four. Sabathia has beaten the Rays once this season, in a five-inning start where he allowed just three hits and a big ol’ goose egg. Key matchups: Tim Beckham (3-8, 2B, RBI, BB), Kevin Kiermaier (4-8, 2 HR, 2 RBI), Evan Longoria (30-73, 9 2B, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 14 BB), Logan Morrison (2-3), Derek Norris (3-11, 2B, HR5 RBI), Steven Souza Jr. (6-14, HR, RBI, 2 BB)